FHM Ottawa Senators Historical Challenge December 1997: The Ties That Bind

Injuries cause an up-and-down month.

Franchise Hockey Manager 6 is a text-based hockey management simulation game by Out of the Park Developments. It’s a lot of fun, and I find it super realistic. I recommend checking it out if you’re looking for a good way to kill time while social distancing.

In the game, you take over as GM and/or head coach of pretty much any hockey team on the planet, and make roster moves to bring your team a championship. The CPU plays the games for you, but you craft the team.

One of the coolest game modes is the Historical Challenges, wherein you take over as GM of a team at a particular point in their NHL existence, and attempt to relive or rewrite history. For the purposes of this play-through, we’ll be taking over the Ottawa Senators in the Fall of 1996, and attempting to win a Stanley Cup no later than the spring of 2007.

For the purposes of this little exercise, I’m going to play through this mode, trying to win a Cup for the Sens, with help from you - yes you - the readers! At the end of every edition, I’ll ask you questions about key roster moves, and make it based on how you respond!

We’re going to take this on a month-by-month basis, with a new instalment coming out every week, so make sure you let me know in the comments what you want to see, and any suggestions you have to achieve this goal! I want to make this as interactive an experience as possible, so I really want to hear from you!

Let’s dive into December of 1997!

You voted, as usual.


Here’s what the lineup looks like, after the Friesen trade, and a Sami Salo call-up.

And, as per request, a look at the current depth chart.

The month gets off to a...less than stellar start.

Here’s how our guys are developing.

Tough to get rolling so far this month. Miroslav Šatan, Alexei Yashin scored, along with Sami Salo’s first NHL goal, but the game ended with an overtime loss, and an extended Marty St. Louis absence.

Not great. Chris Drury draws back in.

On the bright side...

3-3T v Buffalo here, missed the screenshot, here’s a puppy.

Still winless in December, but at least this one isn’t a loss. Šatan scored twice, while Yashin tallied another, but the Sabres matched us at every turn. The game ended in a 3-3 stalemate.

Another positive development on the injury front.

Praise be! After more than two weeks, December finally yields a win for the Ottawa Senators. Alexei Yashin did it all with a hat trick, while Alexandre Daigle potted the other, en route to a 4-3 victory over the visiting St. Louis Blues.

No streaks starting here, however. Our expansion sister squad beats us by a score of 3-1. Wade Redden had the only marker.

Make it back to back losses, as injuries really have the team struggling to get going this month. Yashin and Michael Nylander hit the back of the net, but all that and a fantastic Ron Tugnutt performance were not enough to best the Blues for a second time.

In keeping with the theme of this month, a visit to Carolina ends in a tie, with Rob Zamuner scoring the only goal for the good guys.

A back-to-back finally ends on a positive note. Returning to home ice, the Sens stomped the Hurricanes by a score of 6-2. Even better, goals came from six different scorers, with Zamuner, Yashin, Madden, Šatan, Phillips, and McCabe all lighting the lamp to blow out the Canes.

This year’s games against our regional rival have certainly been more competitive. Daigle scored twice, to go with individual goals from Yashin and Nylander, but the Habs responded with four of their own, en route to a 4-4 draw.

While we continue to give up a ton of shots on goal, Ron Tugnutt gets that embarrassing Isles loss back for us, stopping 40 of 41 to give the Sens a 4-1 victory. Naslund, Salo, Yashin, and Zamuner propelled their team to victory.

Winning streaks are hard to come by. Goals came off the sticks of Naslund and Magnus Arvedson, but Damian Rhodes can’t buy a win in December, and this one ends in a 3-2 defeat to Montreal. Yashin hit the 300 point milestone, though.

On the bright side, look who’s back.

A late Christmas gift was found in Washington, in the form of a 4-3 win. Ron Tugnutt stared down 50 shots, while Alfredsson, Yashin, Šatan, and Nylander combined for a 4-3 win over the Capitals.

On a lighter note, the results of this year’s Player Poll were released. Our own Sami Salo cracks the list in his first month of action.

Not the greatest ending to the month.

That wraps up all the games this month, so it’s question time.

Patrick Lalime appears to have maxed out his minor league development, and it appears that now is the time to call him. Damian Rhodes has struggled, but still put up decent numbers. He is older, however, and has no room left to grow. We can call Lalime up, but there’s no guarantees that Martin will put him in the lineup, and may play Rhodes ahead of him.

When calling up Lalime...

Trade Rhodes52
Keep him on the roster, see who Martin plays30

An injury-riddled December ends with Ottawa posting a record of 4-6-3, and 20-13-7 overall, for 47 points. This leaves us 2nd in the Northeast, 4th in the East, and 8th overall.

Top Performers: Alexei Yashin (13GP 10G 6A 16P),  Miroslav Šatan (13GP 5G 6A 11P), Rob Zamuner (13GP 3G 5A 8P)

Worst Performers: Jeff Friesen (13GP 0G 0A)

Who to Watch: Daniel Alfredsson (6P 1G 5A 6P),  Markus Naslund (13GP 2G 4A 6P), Michael Nylander (13GP 3G 3A 6P)

Farm Report:

That wraps up 1997! Vote on the poll, and check back for January 1998 next week!

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